SHELL-SHOCKED Aussie golf fans may not be quite ready to see another golf ball struck in a Major championship in the British Isles just yet but I’m afraid there’s no let up.
This week twelve older Australian golfers will be chasing Major glory at the 2012 Senior British Open at Turnberry.
They will be led by the 1986 British Open champion at this Scottish venue, Greg Norman.
The Shark may be a part time golfer at best these days but he is still more than capable of putting on a winning performance with the still-taunt 57 year old frame.
Other Aussie hopefuls at Turnberry include US Champions Tour regular Peter Senior and reigning European Senior Tour champion Peter Fowler, who both put in very creditable performances at the recent US Senior PGA Championship in Michigan.
Senior had yet another senior Major top ten finish, tied for ninth, while Fowler finished at T17.
The other Aussies hoping for a starring role this weekend are Wayne Grady, Mike Harwood, Rodger Davis, Graham Banister, Darren Cole, David Merriman, Anthony Gilligan, Tim Elliott and Noel Ratcliffe.
Defending champion Russ Cochran won’t be competing, having been forced to withdraw with a back injury, but there are many other possible winners from both sides of the Atlantic, and beyond.
The Brits are cock-a-hoop with a serious contender in Roger Chapman. The “unknown” Englishman will be seeking an unreal third senior Major title this year after winning both the US Senior Open and US Senior PGA Championship.
Chapman has the chance to become the first European player – and only the second player after South African Gary Player in 1988 – to win the Senior Grand Slam.
“Fortunately, I’m a bit more experienced and I’m full of confidence after my two back-to-back Senior Major victories, so I won’t be feeling quite the same as I did when I played in my first Open Championship at Turnberry,” Chapman said this week. “That was back in 1977, the year of Tom Watson’s victory over Jack Nicklaus in the famous ‘Duel in the Sun.’
Links-specialist Watson, who made the cut at Royal Lytham & St Annes last week, returns to the course where he went so agonisingly close to an historic victory at the 2009 British Open.
The 62 year old finished tied third in last year’s senior open at Walton Heath Golf Club and can also make history by becoming the first player to win four Senior Open titles, having also claimed the title at Turnberry in 2003, Royal Aberdeen in 2005 and at Muirfield in 2007.
Watson is also looking at a hat-trick of Turnberry titles, having won the “Duel in the Sun’ title over the Ailsa Course in 1977 as well as the more recent senior title.
Making his Senior Open debut will be Fred Couples, while other top chances include a revitalised Bernhard Langer, a star performer from Royal Lytham in Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Lehman and former Open and Masters Champion Sandy Lyle.
2012 Senior British Open TV Coverage
There will be live overnight 2012 Senior British Open television coverage in Australia on Fox Sports with replays during the day.
1st Round: LIVE: Friday 2am – 4am; Replay: 3pm – 6pm.
2nd Round: LIVE: Saturday 1am – 4pm; Replay: 2pm – 3.30pm.
3rd Round: LIVE: Sunday 1am – 4am; Replay, 10.30am – 1pm.
Final Round: LIVE: Monday 1am – 4am; Replay, 3.30pm – 6.30pm.
2012 Senior British Open Leaderboard2012 Senior British Open Leaderboard